MY WORK IS FEATURED IN:
Key Takeaways from the D.Confestival:
“Another extraordinary keynote delivered by Dr. Frederic Pferdt, Head of Innovation and Creativity Programs at Google,
who introduced the concept of innovation culture based on interactive exercises. […] Psychological safety is essential for innovation.
This point has also been explained in the excellent neurobiology talks with Caroline Szymanski and Stefanie Faye Frank.”
GRADUATE RESEARCH & OTHER PUBLICATIONS
2011 Legislative Briefing Book: Nevada Institute for Children’s Research and Policy UNLV
Stereotype Content, Disgust & Moral Decision Making: Evidence from Social & Affective Neuroscience
Inclusive Leadership, Stereotyping & the Brain Columbia University, Business School, September, 2009
Disgust Reactions to Trustees and Dictators Modulate Punishment Decisions in Economic Games
Lasana Harris1 , Christine Hosey2 , Stefanie Molicki1 , Ernst Fehr3 , Elizabeth Phelps1,4
Department of Psychology, New York University1 ; Booth School of Business, University of Chicago2 ; Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, University of Zurich3 ; Center for Neural Science, New York University4 .
Abstract: Previous research demonstrates that in the context of the trust game, punishment decisions are modulated by the perceived responsibility of the trustee for the norm violating behavior and the cost of punishment (de Quervain et al, 2004). We extend these results, showing that the perceived responsibility of the violator for their lot in life as well as the affect, specifically disgust, generated by all parties in the social interaction modulate punishment decisions. We recorded physiological responses across separate samples in the context of second party (trust game) and third party (dictator game) punishment while participants observe fictitious players make fair or unfair decisions before themselves deciding punishment for these social targets. In addition to punishing disgust-inducing social targets more severely in both games, participants in the trust game also punish trustees responsible for their negative life-situation more harshly when trust is violated. Also in the trust game, physiological disgust predicts punishment toward violators that elicit disgust versus another negative emotion. In the dictator game, physiological disgust responses predict punishment amounts when a dictator that elicits disgust behaves unfairly toward a recipient that does not. These findings dovetail with the existing literature, and add to the growing corpus of research on social and affective factors that affect decision-making in economic games. Further research will explore whether the neural mechanisms underlying these decisions diverge.
Dynamic Core Theory and Neural Darwinism
Cognitive Neuroscience Graduate Course paper (NYU), December 2008
Excerpt: Explaining consciousness has become a key area of research and debate in the world of neuroscience. The underlying concept behind Gerald Edelman’s Dynamic Core Theory on consciousness is based on a dynamic cluster of neuronal groups in the thalamocortical region that interact with each other across various areas in the brain (Tononi & Edelman, 1998). This theory is linked with Edelman’s theory of neural Darwinism, which emphasizes the selectionist nature of brain development rather than the instructionist computer analogy of the brain (Edelman, 2004). While it is difficult to know for sure which theory of consciousness, if any, will stand the test of time, Edelman’s is an important contender among explanations of consciousness. Moreover, an important contribution associated with this theory is the possibility to quantitatively measure certain aspects of consciousness, which Edelman and Tononi (1998) suggest by using certain formulas to calculate integration and differentiation of neural processes.
Mirror Neurons & the Sensory-Motor Framework
Affective Neuroscience Graduate Course paper (NYU), May 2009
Excerpt: Perhaps just as important as how that process works or what that process consists of, is how imitation – and therefore the potential of mirror neurons – has implications in real world settings. As Rizzolatti and Arbib postulate, mirror neurons may “represent the link between sender and receiver” (p. 188) that allows for the receiver to “understand” the action, utilizing this “understanding” to formulate an appropriate response to the performed action. (Wolf et al., 2001, p. 97). Mirror neurons appear to code facial action and gestures, particularly with the mouth, suggesting that they are important for emotional attunement of other people (Iacobini, p. 662, Cozolino, p. 186). As Rizzolatti and Arbib state, “Our emotional understanding of these gestures allows us to distinguish various social cues and may have links to primitive communiction, allowing one person to detect, for example when another person is feeling peaceful or agitated”(1998).